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Pallone Remarks at Internet of Things Markup

Jun 13, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C.Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following opening remarks today at a Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection markup of H.R. 6032, the SMART IoT Act:

The SMART IoT Act is the next step of this Subcommittee’s work on new and innovative internet-connected technology.  Chairman Latta and Representative Welch have worked together over the past few years to help us discover how the Internet of Things is enhancing our economy and improving our lives.  I commend them for that work and the bill before us today.

Many of us have made connected devices part of our daily lives through things like digital personal assistants and fitness trackers.

But the Internet of Things reaches far beyond consumer products.  The so-called Industrial Internet of Things is making companies safer and more efficient.  Drones are used to assess hazardous situations and to keep first responders safe.  Manufacturers use sensors to increase quality and reduce waste.  Airplanes have sensors monitoring parts that can tell mechanics that preventative maintenance is needed to avoid failures.

The bipartisan bill we are marking up today directs the Department of Commerce to conduct a study and report on the state of the Internet of Things.  Since the hearing a couple of weeks ago, a few changes were made to the bill based on some of the feedback we heard at the hearing.  Because we all know that IoT is used across practically all industry sectors, the bill no longer requires Commerce to come up with a comprehensive list of industry sectors using IoT. 

Commerce will, however, still survey industry sectors making connected devices and public-private partnerships promoting the adoption of connected devices.  The completed report will include descriptions of the ways IoT devices are developed, promoted, and used.

The report will also include a list of industry-based bodies that have developed or are developing standards for the Internet of Things, and—based on feedback from one of our witnesses at the hearing—the report will give the status of those standards.  Standards and guidelines implemented by federal agencies will also be identified in the report.

The study will also look at the ways industry works with the federal government and how federal agencies work with each other on Internet of Things issues.  This part of the study is important to see not only where there is room for improvement, but where there may be gaps in oversight that need to be filled.

I want to address the stakeholders that specifically asked that cybersecurity be included in the study.  I would still support that change.  But I expect that the industry-based standards and the federal standards and guidelines identified in the report will include cybersecurity and data security standards and guidelines.

I hope that by getting the full picture of how internet-connected devices are being used and what standards are being followed, we can address any possible gaps.

And while I’m glad that we are moving forward on this bipartisan legislation - this Committee does not need to wait for this report to address the critical issue of data security.  It would be nice if we could also work on consumer data security and privacy legislation that would apply across the board to the Internet of Things and beyond. 

Thank you, I yield back.        

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